"In addition, during this same period, the number of juvenile arrests for weapons violations increased 117 percent." ("Reduce", n.d.).
"When guns are the weapon of choice, juvenile violence becomes deadly." ("APA", 1993). The logical statistics show this to be true. During the period between 1976-1991, firearms were used by 65% of juvenile homicide offenders, and firearms were used in nearly 8 out of every 10 juvenile homicides in 1991, compared with 6 out of every 10 in 1976. Between 1979 and the present day, the rate of suicide among youth ages 15 to 19 increased over 31 percent, and firearms were used in 6 out of 10 of these suicides.
Depression is statistically at a significantly high level among the youth of today; research has shown that approximately 1 in 5 teens will have at least one episode of major depression by the time they are 18 years of age. Depressed teens are at more risk for suicide, and research shows that teens and preteens commit suicide with guns more than any other method. "When teenagers are angry or depressed, they are more likely to kill themselves or harm themselves or others if they can easily get a gun." ("Focus", 2000).
Violence is a learned behavior, and children learn this behavior from their family and their peers, as well as from items of media such as television, music, movie videos, and video games. Another form of learned violence occurs when a child is brought up in an abusive home, where they see violence or when they are physically or sexually abused themselves. Research studies have in fact shown that violent behavior can be decreased or even prevented if factors such as these were eliminated. Studies also show that if you have a gun in your home, you are 5 times more likely to have a suicide in your house than homes without a gun.
In relation to this, there is a stance against guns which believes that there should be much stronger gun control laws, and that the subject of teens and guns should be taken significantly into consideration. Those who are involved in this stance believe that the only way to make a positive change in the current situation of teens and guns is by reducing the environment of fear and that in order to achieve the greatest reduction in the number of weapon-carrying youth is by directing any and all efforts at the most frequent weapon carriers.
It is believed by Alfred Blumstein (2002) that "the dynamics are extremely different when a handgun is present; the conflict escalates well before anyone can retreat or intervene. Once handguns become prevalent in a neighborhood, each person who carries one has an incentive to make a preemptive strike before his adversary does." Blumstein's observations also suggest that "the growth in homicide committed by young people during the 1980s was attributable more to the weapons they used than to the emergence of inadequately socialized cohorts of 'super predators'."
In retaliation against those who comprise guns and say that they are at fault for the strikingly high crime, homicide, and suicide rates among teens; these people attempt to make strong points such as that "cars kill more teens than guns. Alcohol kills more teens than guns. Disease kills more teens than guns." (Glover, 1999). The aim of those involved in this stance is to make known that guns are in fact not the leading killer among teens, and that the 'real' sources should be properly identified